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Posts Tagged ‘leasing land for wind mills’

A report from the London Free Press on a meeting held in Goderich last Saturday. What the economics professor didn’t mention is the potential for legal action from “involuntary” neighbours of industrial wind projects who find they are experiencing health effects and that their property value has dropped. This was predicted by Toronto lawyer Eric Gillespie.

See the Free Press story here.

Land owners could face huge turbine costs | London | News | London Free Press.

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Here is a definition of the Ontario Feed-in Tariff program for wind and solar power, as proposed by Dan Wrightman, who farms in south-western Ontario.

A brief summary of how the FIT program works
1)you have money and want to make more
2)you get a contract from the OPA and install solar panels or wind turbines
3)the Ontario government will steal the money on your behalf from low and fixed income ratepayers
4)wait for the cheques to come every month and enjoy the good life
Note: do not apply for this program if you have a conscience

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E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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Here’s a letter to the Editor of Ontario Farmer  (July 26, 2011) which reveals some facts about the construction of today’s gigantic, industrial-scale wind turbines. If you are able to catch the film Windfall anywhere too, this subject is well-covered in the film (Kawartha Lakes, Bayfield and Smithville in the next few weeks). Some people–including to so-called “environmental” groups–believe that industrial scale wind power generation is completely without problems, and is a “clean” resource. They need to learn more.

Here is the letter:

Just how “green” and eco-friendly are industrial wind turbines?

Consider the reinforced concrete foiundation base used to anchor a turbine into the soil. A typical base can contain 250 to 650 cubic meters of concrete. The size of the base depends on the turbine height, the mass of the blades and gearing systems, and the foundation engineering requirements of the turbine.

A typical ready-mixed concrete truck holds eight to nine cubic meters each so that is a lot of truck loads to fill just one single base (30 loads minimum, 70 loads maximim). Each cubic meter of concrete typically has an average mass of 2,400 kg. Of that 2,400 kg, one can expect 355 kg will be cementing materials and the remanider will be water (130-150 kg), chemical admixtures (mass is negliglble) and aggregates (1,915 10 1,935 kg of stone and sand).

If wer suppose that the province were to follow through with their plans for 7,000 turbines in Ontario, that would require the following amounts of materals:

  • cement-621,250 tonnes to 1.615 million tonnes
  • water 262.5 million liters to 682.5 million liters
  • stone and sand- 1.636 million tonnes to 4.25 million tonnes

That is a staggering amount of resources.

All this material is extracted, mined, processed and transported using machinery that is either powered by ddiesel fuel, coal or electricity. Cement kilns are monster consumers of coal and natural gas. The bulldozers, crushers, screeners, trucks, railway cars and ships used to create and move this stuff all gobble countless thousands of liters of fuel.

The quarries needed to produce the cement and aggregates are stripped of their vegetation, and then they are rehabilitated (more fuel and energy).

Not to mention the construction roads and construction activity to access and develop all 7,000 industrial wind turbine sites, and the energy and efforts required to create a new electrical grid that is necessary to connect all 7,000 sites into the existing power supply grid.

…So, how “green” is all this going to be after all?

Replacing Ontario’s coal plants with industrial wind turbines substitutes one set of pollutants for another…is this protecting Ontario the way that [Environment] Minister Wilkinson would have us believe it is?

W. Dean Trentowsky, Mitchell, Ontario

Wind Turbines Under ConstructionBackbone Mountain, West Virginia. This was a forest-covered mountain top; the damage to the land will take decades to be reversed…if ever.

E-mail us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

Please visit http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com and donate toward the important work being done there.

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Not so long ago, all you heard in the agricultural newspapers in Ontario was how wonderful the opportunities to host industrial wind turbines on your farm property were. The income was going to “save the family farm” we were told, and there would be no difference whatsoever to farming the property; some farm owners were quoted as saying they farm right up to the bottom of a turbine, with no problems.

Today, not so much: in fact the contracts property ownersare signing are confidential (it’s a condition of signing that the property owner cannot discuss terms), difficult to get out of, and contain many clauses that restrict activity. Farm owners have learned that the wind companies retain the right to come on their properties at any time, to remove trees if they need to, build roads, and restrict construction of any buildings on the farm property. (A sample contract is available at the Wind Concerns Ontario website at http://windconcernsontario.wordpress.com ).

A round-up of articles and letters from the last week shows a diversity of opinions.

Shane Mulligan, Project Manager for the Local Initiative for Future Energy or LIFE, writes  in Ontario Farmer that every village could have an industrial wind turbine. “Yes, there seems to be evidence that wind farms have impacted the health of some folks, especially in the Ripley area. Wind Concerns Ontario and others have made much of these claims and are calling for more studies, larger setbacks, and suspension of building until turbines are ‘proven safe’. Safe compared to what? Every energy technology carries some impacts and uncertainties, and somebody is always ‘downwind’.”  Mr. Mulligan’s co-operative is at least in favour of community involvement in wind projects, a situation now made impossible by the Green Energy Act.

Economics professor Ross McKitrick writes in Ontario Farmer that Ontario’s rush to build wind turbines as salvation for jobs and the economy is reminiscent of the Brian Peckford Newfoundland government’s 1987 plan to boost the economy by subsidizing the building of massive hydroponic greenhouses. “Cucumbers did start appearing,” McKitrick writes. “The problem was each one cost $1.10 to grow and the wholesale market price was just over 50 cents. The greenhouse went bankrupt and ceased operations by 1990. The jobs vanished and the province was left with $14 million in debts to pay.”

Wind developer salespeople “have found in Dalton McGuinty their own Brian Peckford. They convinced him we can become a world leader, not in green produce but ‘green energy.’ Common sense has been jettisoned and the checks are flowing.

“We already have green energy,” McKitrick writes. “Most of our electricity comes from non-emitting hydro or nuclear generation, at a fraction of the cost of wind- and solar-generated power. By the government’s own data, Ontario air pollution has fallen dramatically since the 1970s through the use of scrubbers and automobile technology.”

“Green energy salesmen bamboozle gullible governments into signing checks in return for empty promises of jobs and growth. As the bills mount, prices rise and the economy sags, the inevitable unravelling begins. It will happen here too. The only question is how many jobs will disappear, and how much economic hardship we will put up with, before having the common sense to shut the scam down for once and for all.”

Last, Tom Van Dusen, who attended the North Gower meeting January 23rd, writes in Ontario Agri-News:

February 2011, Vol. 35, No. 2

AgriNews Interactive http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com

Turbines put wind up opponents
By Tom Van Dusen

The Prince Edward County resident who challenged in Ontario Superior Court the placement of industrial wind turbines hopes to hear a decision within several weeks.Ian Hanna outlined his case Jan. 23 to a coalition of some 125 turbine opponents gathered in North Gower. The next day, Hanna was in a Toronto courtroom making his case.

As a taxpayer, he said he resents incentives being handed out by the provincial “green fairy” to encourage construction of windmills without any scientific basis for their locations.

The meeting was convened by the North Gower Wind Action Group, Beckwith Responsible Wind Action Group and Spencerville’s South Branch Wind Opposition Group, all of which are resisting proposed wind farms in their areas.

To get them in the mood for the discussion, participants upon entering the hall were greeted with a loud background drone said to have been recorded from wind turbines in Maine by a landowner living about 1 km from the nearest one.

If he wins the case, Hanna and his backers anticipate that planned wind power projects will be put on hold across the province until “proper” medical studies are conducted which they expect will lead to minimum setbacks of 1.5-2 km between turbines and residences as opposed to the current 550 metres.

“This will kill many projects plus perhaps force rectification/compensation for built projects,” supporters say in a pamphlet seeking donations to the Hanna legal cause.

It’s the proximity of the industrial windmills and the constant drone they create which can make life miserable for rural residents, said Janet White of Wolfe Island in Lake Ontario south of Kingston which is now home to 86 turbines.

White said “slick” companies have created a rift on the island between residents who accepted windmills on their property and those – such as herself – who didn’t. Few jobs and little in the way of general economic benefit have resulted from the wind power project, the sometimes emotional mother of three children added, stating she feels she’s now living “under the thumb of big industry.”

Hanna’s big bone of contention is with the Green Energy Act which he says doesn’t contain authoritative guidelines for the appropriate siting of turbines because “there’s no good evidence as to when they’ll be safe or not.” His case dates back to early 2009 when environmental attorney Eric Gillespie was retained.

In addition to a multitude of ailments said to be caused by proximity to turbines such as sleeplessness, stress, hypertension, and tintinitus, Hanna and his followers cite livestock health, safety, environmental degradation, and decline in property values among drawbacks of windmills in the neighbourhood.

“People are suffering from living too close to turbines,” Hanna said who allowed that he himself isn’t close to a wind farm. “They’re sick, they can’t sleep and they can’t sell.”

……………….

More people are thinking and learning; that’s all we ask.

northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

You can follow us on Twitter at northgowerwind at Twitter.com

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From New York State, last week:

A new slant on wind farms

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Yellow Pages

By Loujane Johns
Posted Oct 26, 2010 @ 02:45 PM

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Print Comment

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Jerusalem, N.Y. —

John Grabski, representing the Jerusalem Preservation Association, brought a seldom explored topic to the subject of wind farms at the Oct. 20 Jerusalem Town Council meeting – economic devaluation.

Public discussions on wind farms usually include noise, flicker, dead birds and discontented cows. Grabski pointed to those briefly, but his main point was to suggest measures to protect against personal property value loss.
Instead of looking at the big picture of how much money wind turbines could bring to the town and landowners, he pointed out in a detailed approach how money could be lost long term.

“According to expert organizations such as professional Certified Real Estate Appraisers, industrial wind development adversely impacts land values within the immediate wind-zone and a peripheral area of approximately two miles,” according to Grabski.

He based his data on research conducted by the Certified Real Estate Appraisers in various states for property within two miles of wind turbines. He then applied this formula to the 346 homes and land affected by wind development, as defined by the Town of Jerusalem as a possible site. He then narrowed it down to 180 parcels located in the immediate vicinity or High Impact Area.  

According to the findings, the property value of the 180 parcels is $18,674,000 which generates $356,000 in school and property taxes annually.

Based on CREA studies, property value declines from 20 to 43 percent can be expected in parcels within two miles of turbine sites. Assuming an average of this estimate, the taxable loss would be $5,602,200 for the 180 homes.

Over the term of a 20 year wind project, the tax revenue loss could be $2,780,571 to $5,561,014, according to calculations, based on the formula.

Grabski said a bondposated by the wind developer would help with lost tax revenue, and added, “People would start to sell and others would ask for lower assessments. It’s happening all over the country.”

“If what developers say is true, and there is no desire on the part of landowners to exit the development area, and that newcomers will continue to seek and purchase property in the wind zone, then there should be no negative impact on property values. If this is true, wind developers should be both willing and able to provide a property value guaranty to landowners with no economic risk on their part. Conversely, if property values indeed decline, then neither the wind company nor the town at large should profit at the expense of the home and land owners,” said Grabski in his address to the board.

The Jerusalem Preservation Association recommends putting a Property Value Bond requirement into the Wind Ordinance to protect both the citizens of Jerusalem from personal loss and the Town from citizens seeking remedy or remuneration for damage or economic loss from wind farm development.

The organization also presented the board with three pages of other recommendations for the wind turbine law dealing with setbacks, noise, health and other issues.

The Jerusalem Preservation Association was formed in the summer of 2009, when some residents learned areas near their properties were being proposed as possible wind farm sites. The group is also discussing the risks of Marcellus Shale drilling.

The Jerusalem Town Board has been exploring the possibility of wind turbines in the town for a few years. A committee was formed and several public meetings have been held, but there has been no action.
Councilman Neil Simmons, who was active in the public meetings, thanked Grabski for bringing to light a different approach that the town hadn’t looked at before.

Councilman Ray Stewart asked people in the audience of about 40, how many were there in regard to this topic. About 30 raised their hands. Grabski said the association could have filled the parking lot, “But the topic is too important to make a circus of it.”

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North Gower Wind Action Group receives candidates’ responses

Posted Sep 30, 2010 By EMC News


EMC News – Candidates and incumbents running for the upcoming municipal election are ignoring a major environmental issue that is of concern to all Ottawa taxpayers, says a local citizens’ group.

A complex of 190-meter high industrial wind turbines proposed for the south area of Ottawa could have significant environmental impacts, health effects for residents, and a decline in property values for neighbouring homes, says the North Gower Wind Action Group’s chair.

“We received very thoughtful replies from several candidates,” says Jane Wilson, “but most are just ignoring this important issue. That’s a mistake. This turbine development is not going to be good for the environment, it’s not good for our community or for Ottawa as a whole. The city’s tax base could be affected by declining property values if this industrial project is allowed to proceed.”

Ontario’s Green Energy Act removed all municipalities’ planning powers where renewable energy projects are concerned.

Responding to the wind action group’s questionnaire sent out last month, Capital ward candidate and environmentalist David Chernushenko said “The North Gower project appears to be one that is too large, too close to residents, and without sufficient community buy-in.”

Mayoral candidate Mike Maguire said he had been “shocked to learn about the experiences of residents in southern Ontario with industrial wind turbines, the health effects, the reduction in property values, and the negative effects on migratory birds…I object to such developments in principle due to the tremendous cost and their essential inefficiency.”

Rideau-Goulbourn ward candidates Scott Moffatt and Iain J.MacCallum are also skeptical about the development. “It is my belief that North Gower is unlikely to be a suitable location to produce wind energy due to its low potential to produce efficient supply,” said Moffatt.

Sitting councillor Glenn Brooks, who brought a motion to city council last year asking for a moratorium on turbine developments until health studies have been donewhich was defeatedsaid he doesn’t think the Ontario Ministry of Health has enough information on health effects from turbines. “Setbacks ought to be 1.5 km from the nearest house,” he said. “That would likely remove neighbours’ concerns about health and noise.” Current Ontario regulations state that the setback between a turbine and the centre of a neighbouring home can be just 550 meters.

Incumbent Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson thinks the North Gower plan is too close to homes – the separation should be two kilometers.

“I would support a motion to give the City control over planning the location of wind farms with more stringent distances to homes required,” said Wilkinson.

“Industrial wind turbines are supposed to be built only in communities that want them, but nobody asked us,” says Wilson of the wind action group. “Right now, there are 67 Ontario communities objecting to turbine developments for very good reasons. We’re sorry to see that many politicians don’t seem to care about this crucial issue that affects the whole city. The people of North Gower and Richmond need the support of their fellow citizens throughout Ottawa to ensure the province responds to citizens’ concerns on this issue.”

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